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Network Structure and the Aggregation of Information: Theory and Evidence from Indonesia

  • Vivi Alatas
  • Abhijit Banerjee
  • Arun G. Chandrasekhar
  • Rema Hanna
  • Benjamin A. Olken

We use unique data from 600 Indonesian communities on what individuals know about the poverty status of others to study how network structure influences information aggregation. We develop a model of semi-Bayesian learning on networks, which we structurally estimate using within-village data. The model generates qualitative predictions about how cross-village patterns of learning relate to different network structures, which we show are borne out in the data. We apply our findings to a community-based targeting program, where villagers chose which households should receive aid, and show that networks the model predicts to be more diffusive differentially benefit from community targeting.

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Paper provided by National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc in its series NBER Working Papers with number 18351.

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Date of creation: Aug 2012
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Handle: RePEc:nbr:nberwo:18351
Note: PE POL
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  1. Abhijit Banerjee & Arun G. Chandrasekhar & Esther Duflo & Matthew O. Jackson, 2012. "The Diffusion of Microfinance," NBER Working Papers 17743, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Sushil Bikhchandani & David Hirshleifer & Ivo Welch, 2010. "A theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom and cultural change as informational Cascades," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1193, David K. Levine.
  3. Manski, Charles F, 1993. "Identification of Endogenous Social Effects: The Reflection Problem," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 60(3), pages 531-42, July.
  4. Oriana Bandiera & Imran Rasul, 2002. "Social Networks and Technology Adoption in Northern Mozambique," STICERD - Development Economics Papers - From 2008 this series has been superseded by Economic Organisation and Public Policy Discussion Papers 35, Suntory and Toyota International Centres for Economics and Related Disciplines, LSE.
  5. Daron Acemoglu & Munther A. Dahleh & Ilan Lobel & Asuman Ozdaglar, 2011. "Bayesian Learning in Social Networks," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 78(4), pages 1201-1236.
  6. Oriana Bandiera & Narayan Das & Robin Burgess & Selim Gulesci & Munshi Sulaiman & Imran Rasul, 2013. "Can basic entrepreneurship transform the economic lives of the poor?," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 58032, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
  7. Alderman, Harold & Haque, Trina, 2006. "Countercyclical safety nets for the poor and vulnerable," Food Policy, Elsevier, vol. 31(4), pages 372-383, August.
  8. Bandiera, Oriana & Barankay, Iwan & Rasul, Imran, 2009. "Social Connections and Incentives in the Workplace: Evidence from Personnel Data," CEPR Discussion Papers 7114, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  9. Galasso, Emanuela & Ravallion, Martin, 2005. "Decentralized targeting of an antipoverty program," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 89(4), pages 705-727, April.
  10. Conley, T.G. & Udry, C.R., 2000. "Learning about a New Technology: Pineapple in Ghana," Papers 817, Yale - Economic Growth Center.
  11. Andrea Galeotti & Fernando Vega‚ÄźRedondo, 2011. "Complex networks and local externalities: A strategic approach," International Journal of Economic Theory, The International Society for Economic Theory, vol. 7(1), pages 77-92, 03.
  12. Jackson Matthew O. & Rogers Brian W., 2007. "Relating Network Structure to Diffusion Properties through Stochastic Dominance," The B.E. Journal of Theoretical Economics, De Gruyter, vol. 7(1), pages 1-16, February.
  13. Matthew O. Jackson & Leeat Yariv, 2007. "Diffusion of Behavior and Equilibrium Properties in Network Games," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 97(2), pages 92-98, May.
  14. Vivi Alatas & Abhijit Banerjee & Rema Hanna & Benjamin A. Olken & Julia Tobias, 2010. "Targeting the Poor: Evidence from a Field Experiment in Indonesia," NBER Working Papers 15980, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Mueller-Frank, Manuel, 2013. "A general framework for rational learning in social networks," Theoretical Economics, Econometric Society, vol. 8(1), January.
  16. repec:cep:stieop:43 is not listed on IDEAS
  17. Kaivan Munshi, 2003. "Networks In The Modern Economy: Mexican Migrants In The U.S. Labor Market," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 118(2), pages 549-599, May.
  18. Banerjee, Abhijit V, 1992. "A Simple Model of Herd Behavior," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 107(3), pages 797-817, August.
  19. Gale, Douglas & Kariv, Shachar, 2003. "Bayesian learning in social networks," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 329-346, November.
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